Facebook and Google quietly extend bans on political advertising

Facebook and Google quietly extend bans on political advertising

Blackouts continue as pro-Trump US election narratives persist

Facebook and Google have quietly extended their bans on political advertising beyond their planned one-week post-election moratorium, as US president Donald Trump and his supporters continue to use the platforms to share claims of a stolen poll.

Both companies are continuing to block election-related advertising, following an initial week-long blackout after the November 3 vote.

The extension comes as online momentum builds around Mr Trump’s claims that widespread voter fraud allowed his Democrat opponents to “steal the election”, which he said he would otherwise have won.

Meanwhile, president-elect Joe Biden’s staff have claimed Facebook, in particular, is not doing enough to prevent the “Stop the Steal” narrative from gaining traction and has failed to stamp out calls for violence. On Monday, Bill Russo, Mr Biden’s head of press, accused the company on Twitter of “shredding the fabric of our democracy”. 

Facebook’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has long refused to fact-check political advertising on the basis that private sector companies should not be the “arbiter of truth”. However, following pressure from critics, the company made concessions to his hard line on free expression, announcing shortly before the election that it would block new political advertisements in the week leading up to the vote and all advertisements during the week after at least.